“As much as they may have disliked what I wrote, they never said I wasn’t right.”
Those are the words from recently retired journalist Marty Noble. So what influenced Marty to become a journalist? Did he want to be a journalist since he was a child, was it his dream job? Well, not exactly. In fact, he would probably prefer a career in writing music lyrics or slightly altering classic rock songs from the 1950's. Nevertheless, Noble is a highly respected and successful sports journalist, so much so that he has a Major League Baseball Hall of Fame vote.
What made Noble realize he wanted to be a journalist was quite simple. “I thought I was good at it and I was told I was good at it,” he says. Noble began his career writing for the Waldwick High School Echo school paper where he was the editor. From 1966 to 1969 Noble wrote stories for the sports department at Lendin State College. Then he began writing for the Caledonian in St. Johnsberry, Vermont, a ten page daily. There he was a regular reporter and covered topics such as the school board.
Noble eventually got a job at Newsday covering baseball, primarily the New York Mets. “We had the best sports section in the country…spectacular place to work, the writers had more influence than any writer nowadays,” Noble said. Later in his career he worked for MLB.com, which he calls a marketing tool for the MLB.
In Noble’s 45 year career of covering the Mets spanning from 1970 to 2015, he’s had plenty of great memories and a few difficult moments. Noble considers the highlight of his career was a deal he made with then Mets manager Davey Johnson in 1986 during the World Series. The bet was if Noble could find the hotel Johnson was staying in at the time, Johnson would give him two stories no one else had. Noble, of course, found the hotel Johnson was staying in and he got his two stories. “I loved to get a story no one else had, it’s a big motivator,” Noble says. That is what Noble valued the most in his career, like when he was the first to report that hall of fame catcher, Mike Piazza was being traded to the Mets in 1998. “Getting a story no one his is good for the ego and the wallet,” Noble says.
Also hard work paid off for Noble. He was one of the two writers to cover the 1981 baseball strike for 50 whole days while working at Newsday. For his hard work and dedication, his boss allowed him to take a vacation from the 24/7 beat. “Take your wife out and send me the bill,” is what his boss said.
Then of course there is the downside to covering a MLB team throughout a 162 game season, not including the post season. Noble says the hardest part was “lack of sleep. You’re covering a game in L.A on Sunday night to be back for a workout in New York Monday afternoon.” However, Noble still says baseball is the best sport in America and he would not pick another sport to cover.
One thing Noble would want everyone to know is that he hates social media. He has no Facebook, Twitter or anything of that sort, just his flip phone. Social media is not the only thing he is a critic of in this era, he also believes modern day journalism and trust in the media is slowly dying out. “There’s a perecentage of people in this business who don’t care. They get told ‘Don’t be afraid to be wrong,’” Noble says. What is Noble’s advice for those who want to break into the industry and be a journalist like he was? “Probably work for a magazine. Newspapers are going down the toilet.”
Noble loves baseball, writing and classic rock and roll music, but outside his family, who he loved the most was Yankees legend Mickey Mantle. Noble says no one had a bigger influence on him than Mantle. Mantle is actually one of the four people he would like to have a sit down dinner with, which is the theme of his upcoming book, “Table for Five.” The subject is asking prominent baseball figures what four individuals they would enjoy sitting down and having dinner with. The book will feature among others, controversial left fielder Barry Bonds and the late Jose Fernandez. At the end of the book Noble will include his four which are: Mantle, Dick Cavett, Vin Scully and Walter Cronkite.